Tree Swallows at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.

I started at Sandy Point this morning, hoping for a decent sunrise, but it was not to be.

I was at Terrapin right after dawn, and it was almost deserted. A lone Osprey and a couple of Egrets were all that was on offer. A lone Wood Duck hen made brief appearance.

CBEC was next, and the usual Tree Swallow flock was present and very active. I managed a few good shots.

Another single Osprey allowed a few good looks. I made another stop at Sandy point on the way home, but even the gulls were scarce.

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Osprey 2018-29

I found this early morning Osprey at Terrapin.

Barn Swallow 2018-9

The CBEC Barn Swallows nest under the blind.

Barn Swallow 2018-10

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Tree Swallow 2018-38

If you spend enough time, you can get a few good flight shots of the elusive Tree Swallow.

Wood Duck 2018-42

This lone Wood Duck didn’t stay long.

Sika Deer at Blackwater NWR.

“The sika deer is a small, brown elk that lives in quiet marshes and forested wetlands on the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.” I have known of these elk for some time, but my few sightings produced no decent photo opps. Today’s encounter was much more fortuitous. These animals usually run off at first sight, but today’s animal was hardly concerned at all with out presence, and Graeme and I got several decent images.

We found many distant herons and egrets, a few eagles and a nesting pair of Red Headed Woodpeckers as well.

We spent a fair amount of time looking for other species, with minimal success. It’s still early, though, and I expect better luck soon.

Graeme Simpson 18

Graeme brought along a portable chair.

Bald Eagle 2018-47

This Bald Eagle was in the usual tree along Wildlife Drive.

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Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-25

These Red Headed Woodpecker parents were busy feeding their young.

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Barn Swallow 2018-8

We found this Barn Swallow at the observation tower.

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Wild Turkey 2018-2

Graeme spotted this Wild Turkey at the end of Wildlife Drive.

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Many Great Blue Herons were feeding in the marsh.

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This Red Winged Blackbird seemed to be carrying food for her young.

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We spotted this Red Tailed Hawk along Key Wallace Drive.

Great Egret 2018-24

Only a few Great Egrets were close enough for images.

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Orchard Oriole 2018-13

This Orchard Oriole posed in a very nice setting.

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Sika Deer 2018-2

We found this Sika Elk along Key Wallace Drive.



Black Skimmer at Bombay Hook NWR.

Back to Bombay Hook because that’s where the birds are. I’ve been checking my local spots with very little luck, so it’s worth the trip to get a chance at some good birds.

There were more egrets and herons than last time, but fewer eagles. The second pool was virtually empty, and Bear Swamp Pool had the most action. I kept a close eye on the vegetation bordering the road and found a couple of good birds that way.

The Skimmers were the highlight. They’re so spectacular as they fly within inches of water, and I was lucky enough to be in a spot they flew quite close to.  A nearly tame Fox added to the mix.

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Purple Martin 2018-24

There’s a large Purple Martin colony at Bombay Hook.

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Common Yellowthroat 2018-5

If you watch the shrubs near the road carefully you’ll find birds like this Common Yellowthroat.

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Great Egret 2018-23

There were many Great Egrets in the marsh today.

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Black Necked Stilt 2018-15

I found only a few Black Necked Stilts today.

Yellow Warbler 2018-4

This Yellow Warbler was a surprise.

Goldfinch 2018-5

Goldfinch 2018-6

There are many Goldfinches at Bombay Hook.

Blue Grosbeak 2018-2

This is a female Blue Grosbeak.

Willet 2018-4

I believe this a Willet.

Eastern Kingbird 2018-12

Several Eastern Kingbirds were flycatching along the roadside.

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Wood Duck 2018-41

These may be first year Wood Ducks.

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I found only two American Avocets today.

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It’s fun to watch these fast Black Skimmers slice through the water looking for fish.

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Some Foxes seem to be nearly tame.

King Rail at Blackwater NWR.

Some days you wonder why a grown man would wander around in the heat, the mud and the bugs looking for birds who don’t give a damn about you. Other days, however, make you wonder why everyone isn’t doing it.

Today was a good one. The King Rail is a life bird for me;in 6 years of frequent jaunts into the marsh I haven’t seen one, or even come close, yet two crossed my path and posed nicely this morning.

In addition, several nice birds and a couple of mammals took advantage of the very nice weather to be out in front of my lens  and made my day several times over.

Blackwater Dawn 47

Blackwater Dawn.

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Ruby Throated Hummingbird 2018-2

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds were very active today.

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Purple Martin 2018-12

The Purple Martin Colony at Blackwater is thriving.


Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-9

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-10

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-8

Red Headed Woodpeckers were easy to find today.


Osprey 2018-20

I was surprised to see these Ospreys mating so late in the season.


Osprey 2018-21

These Ospreys were feeding at least one chick.


Catbird 2018-3

A lone Catbird was singing at the visitor center.

Carolina Wren 2018-2

A Carolina Wren was singing also.

Great Egret 2018-18

Only a few Great Egrets were present.

Bald Eagle 2018-45

Bald Eagle 2018-46

Several Bald Eagles were foraging in the marsh.

Turkey Vulture 2018-2

I don’t often see Turkey vultures drying their wings on the ground.


Eastern Kingbird 2018-11

Eastern Kingbirds were flycatching along the drive.

Orchard Oriole 2018-9

You’ll usually hear an Orchard Oriole before you see him.

Red Winged Blackbird 2018-17

This Red Winged Blackbird has found a nice bug.

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King Rail 2018-6

The secretive King Rail is hard to photograph.

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It’s not always easy to photograph a Delmarva Fox Squirrel.

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This Fox was hanging out at the visitor center.



Woodpecker v. Crayfish at Blackwater NWR.

Occasionally, I run into a situation that’s so extraordinary that it needs  its own post, and that’s what happened today.

I was looking for Red Headed Woodpeckers when one landed in the grass quite nearby. He was immediately engaged with some kind of prey in the tall grass, but I couldn’t see what it was. As I moved closer, I was able to get better images, but things were moving quickly, and I didn’t really have a good overall picture of the situation until I looked at the images in the camera.

I’ve edited some of the images and uploaded them with captions to add some clarity to a special moment.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-10

This is just after the bird (A Red Headed Woodpecker) has landed on the road.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-17

The woodpecker has spied the crayfish.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-18

He takes a closer look at the crayfish.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-13

The crayfish isn’t going to go easily.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-12

Who’s going to win the battle?

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-11

Another attack by the crayfish.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-14

Up and away.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-15

Here, the battle has ended and he’s taking his prize home.


Mute Swan at Bombay Hook NWR.

It’s that time of year when birds are getting scarce, so I took a chance on Bombay Hook this morning. The bugs were held down by a relatively low temperature and just enough breeze.  It was the right place to be to find birds, also.

The pools were actually relatively sparsely populated, but there were enough birds in close to get a few decent pics. A snapping turtle and a leopard frog helped out also.

Now, if they’d just move Bombay Hook closer to Annapolis.

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Purple Martin 2018-16

There is a large Purple Martin colony at Bombay Hook.

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Black Necked Stilt 2018-13

I found only a few Black Necked Stilts this morning.

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This Bald Eagle was enjoying a sunny morning high in a tree.

American Avocet 2018-9

A flock of American Avocets was foraging in the marsh.

Tree Swallow 2018-24

Many Tree Swallows nest at Bombay Hook.

Barn Swallow 2018-6

I found this Barn Swallow on the boardwalk trail.

Catbird 2018-2

I found this Catbird on the marsh boardwalk.

Least Sandpiper 2018-8

Least Sandpipers were not as numerous as last week.

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Least Sandpiper 2018-8

Least Sandpipers were not as numerous as last week.

Eastern Kingbird 2018-9

Eastern Kingbird 2018-10

Several Eastern Kingbirds were feeding in the high grass near the road.

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I saw two Wood Ducks this morning.

Orchard Oriole 2018-8Great Egret 2018-16Great Egret 2018-15Great Egret 2018-14Great Egret 2018-13

Great Egret 2018-17

This Great Egret stayed in one place for quite a while.

Goldfinch 2018-3

Many Goldfinches feed along the roadside.

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Black Skimmer 2018-20

Only a few Black Skimmers were present this morning.

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Snowy Egret 2018-4

The Snowy Egrets stayed quite distant.

Mute Swan 2018-6

A single Mute Swan was cruising in the marsh.

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I found two Snapping Turtles crossing the road.

Frog 16

This Leopard Frog was quite cooperativve.

Black Skimmer at Bombay Hook NWR.

I don’t usually go to Delaware this late in the year because the bugs can be ferocious. I took a chance anyway, as it’s been very slow around here. I’ve also been cooped up with a bad wheel bearing, which took a few days (And $266.00) to fix.

Bombay Hook was well populated with birds, including the first Skimmers I’ve seen there. My first experience with these birds was years ago in Florida. They’re fun to watch. There were also a few other interesting birds, so it was a worthwhile trip. It’s likely to be Fall before I go again.

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Black Necked Stilt 2018-8

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This Black Necked Stilt appears to be nesting.

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Bald Eagle 2018-40

Several Bald Eagles were resting near the road.

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American Avocet 2018-6

A few distant American Avocets were foraging in the marsh.

Snowy Egret 2018-3

I saw only a few Snowy Egrets.

Wood Duck 2018-35

Black Crowned Night Heron 2018-3

This is a juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron.

Red Winged Blackbird 2018-14

You can’t fo far without seeing a Red Winged Blackbird.

Crow 2018-4

This Common Yellowthroat was reluctant to turn around.

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Black Skimmer 2018-1

It’s fascinating to watch these Black Skimmers slice through the water in search of fish.


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This Snapping Turtle was crossing the road at the refuge.


Blue Angels at Truxtun Park.

The Blue Angels made their annual visit for USNA graduation last week, and I went to the park near my home to get a closer look.

They make two runs each year, the first being a rehearsal the day before USNA graduation. That  run was in very poor light, and the images were hardly worth viewing. The following day was much better.

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Willet at Bombay Hook NWR.

It’s getting to be very late in migration, which means birds will be getting harder to find for a while. In past years I’ve avoided Bombay Hook in late Spring, as the bugs are supposed to be quite fierce. I may have been lucky, but I didn’t have a problem.

I didn’t see much in the way of warblers, but shore birds were present in good numbers. Least Sandpipers were foraging in the thousands.

I found a large bird at Bear Swamp Pool, which I hadn’t seen before, and it’s been ID’d as a Willet, It’s named for the sound of its call.

Purple Martin 2018-9 Purple Martin 2018-8

Purple Martin 2018-7

There’s a large Purple Martin colony at the visitor center.


Eastern Kingbird 2018-7

Eastern Kingbirds are nesting at Bombay Hook.

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Bald Eagle 2018-39

I saw more Bald Eagles than usual today.

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Least Sandpiper 2018-6

Thousands of Least Sandpipers were feeding on the mudflats.

Goldfinch 2018-2

Goldfinch 2018-1

Goldfinches are common along the road.

Tree Swallow 2018-23

Tree Swallows are thriving at Bombay Hook.

Black Necked Stilt 2018-5

Black Necked Stilt 2018-6

I found only a few Black Necked Stilts.

Blue Grosbeak 2018-1

Blue Grosbeaks seem to hang out close to the water.

Great Blue Heron 2018-20

Many Great Blue Herons were fishing in the marsh.

Great Egret 2018-12

Dozens of Egrets were foraging in the shallow water.

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Snapping Turtle 31

This Snapping Turtle was moving quickly though the mud.


Orchard Oriole at Blackwater NWR.

It appears we’re going to have a few good days now, so I took off for Blackwater this morning and did well. I was surprised at the lack of wading birds, especially egrets and herons, but there were enough others to keep life interesting.

I spent more time at the visitor center than usual, and it paid off. No matter how many times you visit a place, there’s always more to learn.

Blackwater Dawn 49

Blackwater Dawn.

Eastern Kingbird 2018-5

Eastern Kingbird 2018-6

This Eastern Kingbird was gathering nesting material.

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Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-7

The Red Headed Woodpeckers were very active.

Eastern Towhee 2018-3

This Eastern Towhee was at Greenbury Point.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird 2018-1

This Ruby Throated Hummingbird was also at Greenbury Point.

Orchard Oriole 2018-6

Orchard Oriole 2018-7

Orchard Orioles are nesting near the visitor center.

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Snapping Turtle 29

Turtles will be easy to find for a couple of months, as they look for paces to lay theri eggs.